When shopping for your next hair straightener you’ll come across some terms you may be unfamiliar with. Understanding these terms will help you select the best hair straightener to meet your needs. The terms in this list refer to qualities that greatly improve the performance of these products.

Tourmaline Plate: Many of today’s best hair straighteners use a substance called tourmaline in their plates, often along with ceramic. Tourmaline is a semi-precious gem stone that is found in just a few locations in the world. It is uniquely qualified for use in hair tools because of its electromagnetic properties. When heated, it gives off a safe but significant electrical charge made up of negative ions that heat hair without damaging it. When you read that your tourmaline hair straightener creates Far infrared or FIR heat, this process is what it is describing. Straighteners with tourmaline are proven to be safer on all types of hair, with far less incidence of burning or damage.

Ceramic Plate: Ceramic, you will recall, is clay or other non-metal organic material that has been processed and fired for strength and durability. When properly crafted it creates and incredibly smooth, glossy surface. Quality hair straighteners with ceramic plates greatly reduce the friction and pull of the plates as they pass through your hair. There is far less snagging and grabbing, and the ceramic plates do a better job of flattening the hair cuticle and creating shiny luster. Ceramic is also important because it heats very quickly, holds the heat well, and distributes it evenly for better balance without hot or cool spots in the plates. Heated ceramic also produces negative ion emissions that relax hair, reduce static electricity and quicken the process of styling the tresses.

Ceramic Hair Straightening Iron with Tourmaline: When you purchase a styling tool with this description you know you are getting a product equipped with the components to do a great job on your hair. Ceramic and tourmaline are found in the straightening iron’s plates and they work together to create silky, smooth hair that is healthy and radiant. The tourmaline is a semi-precious mineral that emits a gentle electrical field when heated, giving off negative ions that minimize static electricity and heat up hair quickly so that it can be straightened without damage. Ceramic in the plates also offers negative ion therapy to hair but its major quality is that it is very smooth and reduces damage from pulling or snagging. It flattens the hair cuticle when heated and makes hair very glossy.

Plate Size: When you shop for a hair straightener the product description will list the width of the plate. Full size straighteners have plates that vary in width from 1 inch to 2.5 inches. Wider plates are best for straightening long, coarse or difficult hair, and doing it somewhat faster than narrower plates since there is more surface area involved in the work. They are wonderful for straight, sleek looks that are fashionable today. The advantage of narrower plates in the 1-1.5 inch range is that they do a very adequate job straightening but can also be used for styling effects such as curling, flipping, crimping and more. The narrower the plates are the more versatile the tool is. What size you choose should be determined by the type of hair you have, as well as its length, and also the kinds of styles you wish to create. Travel irons are typically more compact and feature plates between .5 and 1 inch.

Wet/Dry Ceramic Hair Straightener: These very practical straighteners work equally well on wet hair as they do on dry. You only need to gently towel-dry your hair and leave it damp. The straightening iron works to style the hair while sealing in natural moisture. These tools usually have vents on the sides of the plates that allow the steam to escape as you run the straightener through your locks. They won’t always completely dry your hair, but they will remove some of the moisture while doing a fantastic job of creating dynamic looks. Just think of how a clothes iron employs steam to get out wrinkles and you’ll have the basic idea. Another advantage is that they eliminate the need for blow-drying and therefore avoid the damage to the hair that dryer heat can cause.

Nano Titanium Hair Straightener: Nano titanium is a form of titanium that is lighter in weight than standard titanium but just as strong. Its major advantage for use in hair straighteners is that it conducts heat even better than ceramic does and will deliver very balanced heating through the plates. There is virtually no recovery time and the plates won’t cool down as they pass through your tresses. When heated, Nano titanium creates far-infrared heat that is proven to be gentler on hair, greatly diminishing the risk of damage. It produces negative electrical ions that relax hair and reduce static and frizzy conditions. Nano titanium is also very smooth so plates made from this substance are not prone to pulling or breaking hair during use.

Nano-Fuzeion Technology: Nano-fuzeion takes standard nano titanium technology several steps further. It is a fusion of three nano-charged materials – nano-titanium, nano-titanium dioxide and nano-silver. The effects of this fusion are positive in many ways. First, the materials emit negative ions that heat hair more gently, cause it to relax, and straighten or style it with less damage. In fact, nano technology seals in natural moisturizers. Secondly, the addition of nano-silver serves to kill off damaging microbes in the hair, making it healthier and maintaining its shine for longer. Nano-fuzeion is the proprietary technology found in some hair straighteners, particularly FHI brand products.

Some other brands refer to nano-fusion which usually refers to the combination of nano titanium with tourmaline, a synergy that creates smooth, relaxed hair that is shiny and free of the static electricity that often causes hair to become frizzy and hard to control.